We need to be more confident in ourselves and it needs to start now.
I'll start with a quote from Joan Didion - 'Self respect, its source it's power'. Vogue 1961
"people with self respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve. They display what was once called character.
Qualities although approved in abstract sometimes looses ground to other instantly negotiable virtues. Character, the willingness to accept responsibility for ones own life, is the source from which self respect springs. However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in the notoriously uncomfortable bed. The one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends of course whether or not we respect ourselves.
Joan Didion in Hollywood, image from netflix. There's a great documentary on her here too.
Working with many, many women over the years on events mainly surrounding weddings I have began to notice that our social judgment is huge factor in our self confidence and esteem.
I started writing this after a few fittings that made me question my job and after the Baftas. Women were being judged on the red carpet not their skills. It was the first time I noticed it. In the same way as in weddings, the guys were turning up in beautiful suits but the women were expected to spend extra time on their outfits that they will then be judged on. Everyone should be asked about their work and then what made them choose that piece of clothing, not simply who are you wearing.
I was listening to Greta Gerwig on the Adam Buxton show and she made to old Ginger Rogers quote 'she has to do everything he does but backwards and in high heels'. Imagine if all the men did an over the shoulder shot in heels and a gown on the red carpet. This was a great interview about writing and directing.
Writer and Director Greta Gerwig photographed by Jody Rogac
This reducing women to just looks has led to a lack of confidence and self esteem which is crippling in every part of our lives. It is the saddest and most frustrating thing to see a beautiful women look in the mirror and hate the ways she looks. This is not ok to hate the way you look and it holds you back. I do believe we can all look great and be wonderful people whatever age, gender, size, physicality or skin colour. We must have confidence.
Its this constant judgement and knocking of self confidence and self esteem, that has kept women down. We need to fight this battle of confidence. For generations we were kept down by men, industry and society. I hate that we put each other down through jealous bitching purely because we lack self confidence. And we must stop putting ourselves down. Its a waste of energy.
How about being happy for other women by celebrating and supporting each other? Telling each other how great we are for our achievements whatever they may be. And how about looking in the mirror and feeling great about the way we choose to look or congratulating yourself on the good work you've done? Its all in our control.
Having confidence about your identity is important. Obviously I work in an industry where looks are very important, but in fashion it really isn't about having to look a certain way, its about how you choose express yourself visually.
Everything we choose to wear shows a little part of us and for women our use of clothes and fashion is an added ability we have. It is also a tool for self confidence. Fashion will not harm or hurt, they are just clothes and it does not matter how we dress, to anyone but ourselves.
My dresses may seem vacuous at times but I really believe that if you are at peace with the way you look, you'll feel great and can get on to do great things. One of my customers referred to her wedding dress as her armour. This is how dresses are used.